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Harry and Louise Are Coming Back: Insurers Planning on Double-Crossing Obama

 Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

 One week after President Obama announced that the nation's health insurance
lobby pledged to reduce healthcare costs by $2 trillion in ten years, Blue
Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is putting the finishing touches on a public
message campaign aimed at killing a key plank in the Presidents reform

Obama had told the health care executives, “you’ve made a commitment; we expect
you to keep it.”

When the healthcare insurance lobby realized the trap it fell into it
immediately went to work to defend its control over the healthcare dollar. It is
going to roll out Harry and Louise as it did in 1993. I do not think it will
work. We are living in different times with different media tools.

From a distance
everything Barack Obama says sounds great
. The events of the last eight
years have created cynicism and despair. We are a nation thirsty for hope to
solve our many problems.”

The healthcare insurance industry is going to try to destroy President
Obama’s “National Health Insurance Exchange”. If congress
passes the National Health Insurance Exchange it will lead to a single party
payer system. The government as the single party payer is unsustainable.

“As part of what it calls an "informational website," the company has
hired an outside PR company to make a series of videos sounding the alarm about
a government-sponsored health insurance option, known as the public

The industry argues that creating a public insurance program will undermine
the marketplace and eventually lead to a single-payer style system.

Somehow, this isn't surprising. The health insurance industry has showed it
is not serious about controlling costs by
backing away from the promise they made to President Obama

Now, it wants to eliminate the public health insurance option. The
public insurance option would provide an option for people who cannot afford buy
private insurance because of the healthcare insurance industry’s

The public
health insurance option is a key provision in President Obama's plan to help
cover all of us
. It would finally give everyone the choice between
keeping our current insurance or switching to a new, high-quality public
. And under a public health insurance plan our premiums wouldn't
subsidize CEO salaries or stockholder profits
we'd all save a lot on
health care costs

There are basic problems with private healthcare insurance. Its premiums are
a very rough calculation with large profits built in. The industry has reduced
provider reimbursement and restricted access to care while raising premium and
maintaining grotesque administrative fees. The process is opaque to all.

government will do the same as a single party payer because it cannot afford the

Obama’s thinking on cost savings is defective
. The government outsources the
administrative services of its present government healthcare programs Medicare
and Medicaid to these very same healthcare insurance companies. The healthcare
insurance companies do the same thing to the government. Its providers
(physicians and hospitals) and consumers (patients) will experience the same
reductions and rationing of care. The program will fail just as the
Massachusetts program has failed to be affordable to the state. A systemic
change in the healthcare systems payment structure must occur in favor of
patients and physicians.

“If we had the choice of a public plan, private insurers would have to
lower rates and improve quality to compete
, so they're dead set
against it.”

The crafting of a campaign by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is the
first of many campaigns we will see in the coming months in an attempt to turn
public sentiment against the “National
Health Insurance Exchange.”

President Obama’s insurance exchange is another way of expanding the Medicare
program. His plan is to arrive at a single party payer through the back door
while promising to maintain the private insurance option. It is Hillary
Clinton’s healthcare plan of 1993 all over again. Nobody asked the practicing
physicians for solutions. Physicians’ representing associations have not done of
very good job of articulating solutions.

healthcare insurance industry is not looking to protect its customers
(consumers). It is looking to control the healthcare dollars and protect its
profits. However they have cooked the goose that laid their golden eggs by
abusing consumers, employers and physicians. Harry and Louise will not

Consumers are frustrated and angry. They do not trust government or the
healthcare insurance industry. They are looking for a creative solution.

The new media, the internet and blogs provide a chance for consumers to
express themselves.

“ Obama
will backtrack on this one, too! I don't have any hope that America will join
the 20th century to become a "progressive" democracy. We are an oligarchy and it
will stay that way. Just look how we elect people for office. Millions raised,
millions disappearing in someone's pocket. Money rules! ”

Consumers, it is time we drove the healthcare system because our surrogates
have let us down.  

“Not surprised at all by this. The health insurance companies have had an
unbelievable advantage, they can do anything they want. The only thing they need
to do is keep Congress happy with lobbyists because Congress is not their
customer, they have their own insurance paid by you and I. It's gloves off time
on health reform. These guys will pull no punches, they are fighting for their
yachts. While we lose insurance if we file a claim.”

It is time for consumers to demand control of their healthcare dollar. It is
time they have incentives to be responsible for their own health and be rewarded
for staying healthy. My
ideal medical savings account either funded by employers if the consumer is
employed or funded by the government with insurance for all is the solution that
must be demanded.

The opinions expressed in the blog
“Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

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